Company A finds an opportunity from a bid aggregator that requires a monthly subscription. They pay the monthly fee to receive the solicitation documents and start briefly scanning their golden RFP. No one in Company A has read a RFP before, but they are confident in the quality of their services and expect positive performance, if not a win. After this initial scan, they shelf the RFP, and continue focusing on serving their current paying customers. That is, until the week before the proposal is due. Now Company A has committed to working late nights and weekends to get this proposal done. Company A feels stressed. They do not know their chances of success, nor do they understand the time commitment, should they be the awardee.
Company A emails the bid just two hours before the due date. Silence for three weeks. Why is it taking so long?
Company B has been scanning for Pre-RFP opportunities within their service area for months. They understand local agency budgets, council member interests, and some current priorities of decision makers in government. They have been expecting a formal RFP to be issued for some time, and, finally, receive an email sent directly to them with the official scope of work and project details. The incumbent is known to not be liked by the RFP’s purchasing director and certain suggestions made by Company B over conversations in different formats/forums have made their way into the RFP. They understand their chance of success is high and will require roughly 15-20 hours of work from RFP receipt to submission.
The bid is sent in a packaged format, per the requirements, two days before the due date. They check up with the POC to confirm receipt. Company B knows any decision to proceed must be approved by the agency’s council, which holds bi-weekly meetings. The next meeting is in six days.
Not to Bid
Company A was regrettably burnt from bidding on the last RFP. Alerts for newly issued RFPs go to the spam folder and they forget about the bid aggregator subscription they are paying for each month.
Their justification for not bidding on a particular project/opportunity is based on past performance.
No FOIA request was made, so nothing much was learned by the experience overall.
Company B uses a 17-question table to determine if a pursuit is worth an affirmative “Bid!” decision.
Bids :) and No-Bids :( have balanced justification requirements. No-Bid decisions are used as tools to carve and shape Company B’s client roster, speciality, brand, etc. This selectivity has paid off dividends, and project fit has led to more contract option years and strong client references.